Podcasts are a divisive subject, partially because many people misunderstand their purpose and how much work goes into making one. IT Munch mentions that a podcast could be considered the internet’s version of a talk show. Podcasts seem as though almost anyone with recording equipment could do them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the simplest of podcasts could take hours of audio editing and cleaning up before it’s in a usable form.
Getting a podcast started, and finding an audience is a lot harder than it initially seems. AmplifiMedia reports that most podcasts don’t get past their seventh episode. The amount of effort that goes into developing and crafting a podcast to send the right message is one of the understated facts of the industry. However, with the right motivation and direction, a podcast could be quite effective at growing an audience.
Shopify notes that podcasting is a valid methodology for content marketing. It can help to grow and reach out to an existing audience. With a substantial enough presence on social media, a brand can leverage the fans of its other channels to listen to its podcast and even share it around. The dream of companies and brands looking at podcasting as a content marketing measure is to utilize their other channels to boost the signal of their podcast. As with all content marketing attempts, though, some pros and cons can affect its long-term success.
Pros of Starting a Podcast in 2020
The first thing that businesses think of when considering content marketing via podcasting is how it’ll grow their brand exposure. Small Biz Genius mentions that as much as 144 million Americans listen to podcasts, working out to 51% of the population over the age of 12. With that many people as an audience, it’s clear to see why businesses consider podcasting a viable medium.
Users can choose to listen to podcasts on almost any digital audio medium. Podcast Hero informs us that the word podcast stems from the terms iPod and Broadcast. Today’s podcasts can be downloaded or streamed via online services directly to a phone or portable media device. The portability means that people usually have podcasts playing in the background while they do something else. Unlike written or video content, the information is all contained within the audio, without a need for other visual elements. For the content marketer, this means that there’s a lot of flexibility in delivering the message without detracting from it with visual stimulus.
Attract a Wider Audience
We’ve already seen how many people listen to podcasts. The demographics of podcast listeners bypass generational boundaries. Marketing Land mentions that there is a constant growth of podcast listeners across all age groups. For businesses looking at tapping into a broader market, this is a useful statistic to keep in mind. However, the topic that the podcast covers need to be relevant as well. Attracting a wider audience and opening up the appeal of content introduces the business to entirely untapped demographics.
Create a Deeper Relationship with Listeners
When listeners start a podcast, they usually go through the entire thing. Podcast Insights reports that 80% of listeners finish all or most of a podcast. A good podcast can make the user feel as though it’s speaking directly to them. The podcast creates an intimate feeling of knowledge and can forge entire relationships, much like the way talk-show hosts on the radio used to do it. This type of powerful connection is unique and is impossible to achieve through other means consistently.
Cons of Starting a Podcast in 2020
As with most things, there are two sides to the story when it comes to podcasts. For each of these fantastic benefits, there is a drawback that may be relevant to content marketers.
Can be Time-Consuming
The recording part of a podcast doesn’t take too long. The bulk of time that goes into developing a podcast is editing. Podcast Engineering states that an hour-long podcast episode can take as much as g four hours of editing time for a professional. In the case of a beginner, several more hours might likely be necessary. The time-consuming nature of podcasts gets easier the longer that you do it. Still, if you intend to create a podcast a week, it will take a significant portion of time, possibly more than other content marketing techniques.
While it is technically possible to do podcasting for very cheaply or even free, you usually get what you pay for. You can cut down production time by outsourcing most of the supporting jobs to others, but you would have to pay for professionals to work on your podcast. It comes down to the eternal question of whether it’s worth it to spend money on a content marketing medium like this, and how much return you can expect on the investment.
A Marathon, Not a Sprint
Podcasting isn’t a short-term position. Audiences tend to build over time, and the more content that you produce, the more likely it is to get traction from the audience. Podcasts that cover specific topics today may become relevant again in the future resulting in new shares and potential fans. If you’re planning to use podcasting as a way to get a lot of new clients in the short term, then this method is probably not the most efficient one. Podcasting requires a long time to be useful or even be able to offer any returns on its investment.
Is a Podcast Worth It?
The new year offers a lot of promise to companies looking at podcasting. The Podcast Host estimates that 750,000 podcasts currently exist, making it a monumental task to make your voice heard amidst the noise. If you’re considering podcasting as a long-term investment in content marketing, then it may be worth the time and effort. Just like other content marketing strategies, it requires insight into the target audience and a long-term plan to achieve success. The medium might be different, but a lot of the core tenets of content marketing strategies apply here as well.